Monday, January 16, 2012

No. 871 – Mary

Performer: Pete Townshend
Songwriter: Pete Townshend
Original Release: Lifehouse Chronicles
Year: 2000
Definitive Version: None

ITunes was a music game-changer, of course. Now, I could listen to what songs I wanted in any order that I wanted and make my own CDs. And one of the first things I wanted to have was my own Lifehouse.

Lifehouse, of course, was a legendary nonexistent album by The Who that fell apart when Pete Townshend couldn’t properly explain what he was trying to do to everyone involved. And it didn’t help that he came up with the idea at least 20 years before he could have fully realized it anyway. When it fell apart, the bulk of it ended up on Who’s Next and spread over other albums.

Finally in 1999, the technology caught up, and Townshend put together Lifehouse Chronicles, which featured a radio play that finally assembled the whole story.

But two discs in the Chronicles box set were how the original Lifehouse would have been constructed. When I learned about that, I asked mixmaster Scott to put together the same songs in the same order but to use Who versions. Only a few songs—this being one of them—weren’t actually recorded by The Who in the studio (or at least as had been released by 2001). But something was missing—proper album art.

Now it was my turn. Thanks to the miracle of Quark at The Dispatch, I was skilled in page design, so I pulled together all the elements: song list, a proper font, the Lifehouse logo from Pete’s website and the piece de resistance for the back.

I had a perfect picture from AP: It was a shot of the New Year’s celebration in Moscow in 2000 with people milling about on a snowy Red Square. One of the buildings in the back had a green laser stream emanating from it, which harkened to finale of Won’t Get Fooled Again in The Kids Are Alright.

So I sized it, cut it, made prints and popped them in jewel boxes with proper CDs therein to send off to Scott and Jin. Jin was beside herself when she got it and asked if I drew in the lasers. Nope, that was all in the shot. (I tried to find the picture online, but no luck.)

Of course, our Lifehouse albums aren’t the same as actually having a Who Lifehouse album from 1971, but it’s as close as I’ll ever get, and it’s close enough.

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